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WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR

Discover How Our Mission and Values Align with Your Nonprofit Goals

Align your nonprofit goals with a partner who understands your journey.

We recognize the unique challenges nonprofit leaders face, from strategic decision-making and career development to talent retention, board engagement, and innovative fundraising solutions. We've been in your shoes as leaders, fundraisers, board members, and volunteers. Mission-driven work is our calling – and we’re here to help you succeed. 

Since 2009, we've successfully partnered with over 300 nonprofits and universities to build and scale sustainable organizations for greater impact. The PMA team's proven success stems from our tailored approach, recognizing that one solution doesn't fit all. 

Our Mission and Values

Mission: We help nonprofit leaders excel in strategic planning, fundraising, and building dynamic organizations.  

Values: We believe in finding clarity in chaos, seeking investment despite barriers, and fostering confidence amidst doubt. 

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Our Team

Leadership Team
Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE
Founder
Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE
Founder

Patton is the Founder and President of PMA Nonprofit Leadership and brings over 30 years of expertise in philanthropic leadership, having partnered with over 300 organizations across all nonprofit sectors. A CFRE and Master Trainer for AFP Global, he's recognized for his speaking and dynamic facilitation. Starting with Special Olympics International and NC Special Olympics, his journey led to roles at Queens University of Charlotte and UNC Wilmington before founding PMA in 2009. 

Currently an Executive in Residence at Cornell University's Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Patton's leadership insights resonate through his weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and his 2022 book of the same title. A Morehead Scholar from UNC Chapel Hill, he also earned an MBA from McColl School and a Doctorate in Education (Organizational Change and Leadership) from the University of Southern California. Originating from Elizabeth City, NC, Patton's involvement with AFP Charlotte and AFP International Board demonstrates his unwavering dedication to nurturing leaders at all stages of their nonprofit careers. 

Emily Battle
Managing Director
Emily Battle
Managing Director

 

Emily blends over 10 years of nonprofit leadership with nearly a decade in corporate strategy consulting. Her nonprofit journey as Executive Director for Let Me Run equipped her with comprehensive knowledge across organizational dimensions, including fundraising, partnerships, programming, board management, legal compliance, and more. She has developed multi-million-dollar fundraising programs, staffing plans, and effective marketing strategies for organizations like New York Road Runners and Let Me Run, while developing data-informed innovative programs at the Clinton Global Initiative and LIVESTRONG.

In the corporate realm, Emily excelled in Organizational Development, Change Management, and Human Performance projects with Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Deloitte. She also dedicated time to pro-bono work, aiding nonprofits in partnership and fundraising strategies, capacity building, and strategic planning. 

Emily's prowess lies in designing innovative processes and structures, enhancing organizational effectiveness. Armed with a Bachelor's in American Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's in Public Health from Columbia University, she offers a wealth of expertise and a passion for catalyzing change across diverse functional areas. 

James Waddey
Managing Director
James Waddey
Managing Director

 

As a Managing Director at PMA Nonprofit Leadership, James leverages over 15 years of experience in nonprofit sector leadership, focusing on all phases of the fundraising process. His vast experience includes serving as Vice President of Advancement for Murphy-Harpst Children's Centers and Assistant Director of Development for Youth Villages in Atlanta. 

James's leadership has spanned various vital functions, including donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, as well as corporate, foundation, and community engagement. His marketing and communications oversight and liaison work with fiduciary and advisory boards highlight his managerial skills and commitment to board development. 

Specializing in foundation relations, James led initiatives involving grant writing and reporting. He's managed significant projects such as strategic plans and high-profile events, reflecting his organizational prowess. His previous work with the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and AmeriCorps, coupled with completing PMA's Mastermind Leadership Development program, further solidifies his standing in the field. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism, James's strong communication and strategic thinking enrich his approach to nonprofit strategy.  

Programs & Operations Team
Dr. Lea Williams
Mastermind Program Director
Dr. Lea Williams
Mastermind Program Director

As the Mastermind Program Director, Lea steers the firm’s transformative coaching and training efforts through the Mastermind Leadership Development program. With a Ph.D. in Organizational Science from UNC Charlotte, Lea's expertise in driving change within nonprofits is academically rooted and practically honed. 

Prior to PMA, Lea served over 15 nonprofits through pro-bono consulting and held key Talent Management & Organizational Development roles in organizations like Ingersoll Rand, Duke Energy, and TIAA. Her skill set encompasses meeting effectiveness, leadership development, board and staff training, data analysis, strategic planning, survey design, and volunteer engagement. 

Lea's research-savvy approach enables her to gather input and synthesize it into innovative strategies for nonprofit leaders. Her expertise in meeting effectiveness, the subject of her dissertation, empowers organizations to enhance collaboration and achieve significant results.  

Her educational foundation includes a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from UNC Charlotte and a bachelor's degree from Davidson College. This diverse background allows Lea to tackle organizational challenges with a holistic blend of empirical research and practical solutions.  

Zach Perry
Operations and Community Manager
Zach Perry
Operations and Community Manager

 

Zach serves as the Operations and Community Manager for PMA Nonprofit Leadership, supporting both organizational consulting partnerships as well as the overall operations of the firm. He recently completed his master's in public administration from North Carolina State University, with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. 

As a Graduate Student Intern for PMA in 2022, he completed the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program through the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, as well as supported multiple strategic planning, capacity-building, and fundraising projects for the firm. 

His passion is to help nonprofits and public organizations improve their efficacy and capacity to create positive social change in many areas, including community development, community organizing, and housing. Zach served as a graduate assistant in the Public Administration Department at NCSU, where he assisted in leadership development training for peer recovery organizations in several states. This practical experience has refined his expertise in equipping organizations with the tools they need to drive transformation. Zach earned his bachelor's degree in Geography from SUNY Albany.

Consulting Team
Dr. Brittany Bethel
Senior Consultant
Dr. Brittany Bethel
Senior Consultant

Brittany has worked in the nonprofit space for the past 20 years. She has served on church staffs in worship, students, and adult ministries and currently serves as the Executive Director of Carolina Cross Connection. CCC is an affirming and inclusive Christian mission organization that serves 14 counties in NC with minor home repairs and has an Advocacy and Awareness Retreat program in Asheville that learns form people who have housing insecurities and from people in Honduras from those leading Children’s Homes and about global family. CCC partners with churches to connect with and meet community needs. 

In her time at CCC she has helped the organization recognize and address the DEI gaps, write statements and policy, and develop a strategic plan to ensure the organization is leading with DEI at the forefront. She is excited to join the PMA Consulting team specializing in Organizational Culture, Visioning and Strategic Planning, and Leadership Development. 

She has her BA in Vocal Performance from Columbus State University, a MA in Worship Theology from Dallas Baptist University, and her Ed.D in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. She and her wife Taylor live in Charlotte, NC with their two dogs Sully and Wilson.

Patrick Lynch
Senior Consultant
Patrick Lynch
Senior Consultant

 

As a Senior Consultant at PMA, Patrick brings over 15 years of specialized expertise in education, higher education, and organizational culture to the firm. Currently serving as Director of Development and Public Relations for I Know I Can in Columbus, OH, Patrick's leadership helps to empower students through innovative programs such as the Columbus Promise. 

His experience includes visionary contributions at Ohio State University's College of Engineering, where he launched successful engagement strategies and doubled young alumni giving. As a leader, he has established a Leadership Annual Giving Program, raising over $400,000 annually, and has made his mark in the advancement of the fundraising profession through active board service with AFP Charlotte and involvement in the North Carolina Philanthropy Conference. 

Patrick's contributions are widely recognized, earning him appearances on podcasts and speaking engagements at CASE conferences. He holds an MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, a BS in Marketing from Miami University, and completed PMA's Mastermind Leadership Program (Spring 2021 Cohort). His blend of creative thinking, leadership prowess, and dedication to education enriches the nonprofit community, making him an influential figure within the sector. 

Robin Taylor
Senior Consultant
Robin Taylor
Senior Consultant

 

With 15 years of diverse experience in the nonprofit sector, Robin Taylor serves as a key asset to PMA's efforts, offering expertise in leadership development, front-line fundraising, donor stewardship, and data management. Robin's work extends across community-based groups and national nonprofits, focusing on data management, annual fundraising, and donor stewardship. She has successfully led the implementation of annual fundraising plans and developed robust stewardship programs, leveraging technology to enhance revenue and donor retention. Her hands-on experience in implementing databases and training front-line fundraisers sets her apart as a multifaceted professional. 

Known for her meticulous attention to detail, Robin is adept at navigating IRS regulations related to 501(c)3 charities and fostering collaboration among fundraising, financial, and programmatic staff. Her commitment to the community extends beyond professional realms, as she has taught youth gymnastics for 20 years and leads children and family programs at Woodlawn Community Fellowship United Methodist Church. 

A graduate of Northland College (BA) and American University (MA) in History and International Relations, Robin's academic background enriches her comprehensive approach to fundraising. She also completed PMA's Mastermind Leadership Program in Fall 2023.

Katelynn Greene
Consultant
Katelynn Greene
Consultant

 

Katelynn serves as a Consultant for PMA Nonprofit Leadership, supporting strategic planning, capacity-building, and fundraising projects for the firm. She also serves as the Development Manager at The Center for Community Transitions in Charlotte, NC.  CCT enhances the lives of justice-impacted individuals and families, offering supportive employment, reentry transition pathways, and strengthening family bonds. 

She also served as the founding Development Director for the Matthews Free Medical Clinic, where she crafted and executed the organization's inaugural annual development plan, and managed the donor lifecycle, grants program, and donor management software implementation. Her success extended to securing the clinic's first 3-year contract with the NCDHHS - Office of Rural Health and authoring a NCAFCC dental grant, garnering the highest state rating for expanding dental care access through a place-based/mobile model. 

Katelynn's academic achievements include a Master's degree in public administration (Nonprofit Management) from UNC Charlotte, coupled with a bachelor's degree in health systems management from the same institution. As a Graduate Student Intern for PMA in 2021, she also completed the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program through the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership. 

Content & Creative
Jean Bock
Senior Content Editor
Jean Bock
Senior Content Editor

As Senior Content Editor, Jean drives PMA's digital, audio, and print content, including the global podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, and Patton's book, Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. With over 20 years of experience, Jean excels in leadership, fundraising, and community engagement.  

Jean's roles have included planning events with local nonprofits, serving on multiple boards, and contributing strategically to community causes. As incoming Chair Elect of the Cain Center of the Arts, she continues to make a significant impact. Besides her nonprofit work, Jean is a skilled writer and editor, and has been instrumental in the firm's thought leadership and Patton's debut book, ensuring clarity and resonance. Her involvement in the design of PMA podcast episodes and vetting outstanding global guests offers tremendous value to listeners. 

Jean's blend of philanthropy, community leadership, and editorial expertise enhances PMA's offerings. A graduate of St. John's University in Queens, NY, her wide-ranging skills serve to further the mission of PMA and the nonprofits they support. 

Lauren McDowell
Content Manager
Lauren McDowell
Content Manager

As Content Manager for PMA, Lauren infuses passion and creativity into the firm's digital and audio content. She's the force behind the global podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and the firm's e-newsletter Thursday Leadership Lens, showcasing her expertise in design, Adobe Creative Suite, and writing. As Executive Producer of the podcast, Lauren orchestrates guest research, program design, and publication.   

Her creativity extends to the firm's social media profiles, where she crafts compelling articles and maintains brand identity. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Lauren holds a BA in Narrative Studies and minors in Digital Studio Art and Classical Perspectives. Her dynamic skill set brings captivating narratives to life, engaging nonprofit leaders worldwide.

Parker McDowell
Digital Marketing Associate
Parker McDowell
Digital Marketing Associate

As Digital Marketing Associate, Parker enhances PMA's digital presence, including the global podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and the firm's customer relationship management database. With a focus on media trends, Parker develops engaging content for PMA's nonprofit leadership community and ensures its reach across media platforms. He curates the podcast's YouTube channel and optimizes the PMA website using Google Analytics. By transforming PMA's library of content into diverse digital, audio, and video formats, he extends the firm's impact.   

A recent graduate of the Bob Schieffer School of Communications at Texas Christian University, Parker holds a degree in Communications with a specialization in Film, Television, & Digital Media. His innovative approach to digital marketing, creative vision, and technical expertise makes him an asset to the PMA team, propelling the firm's digital initiatives to new heights. 

Joy Zuniga
Administrative Assistant
Joy Zuniga
Administrative Assistant

Joy serves as PMA’s Administrative Assistant, overseeing calendaring, editing, and
much of the firm’s organization and infrastructure. Prior to joining the team she gained
experience working with an educational nonprofit, and also managed a team of virtual
technical producers for corporate training. In these roles, she helped with program
administration and managed virtual training experiences and logistics.

Joy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and Portuguese from Brigham
Young University. She is passionate about helping others through her attention to detail,
organizational skills, and logistical efficiency. She believes that laying a great logistical
foundation allows everyone in an organization to reach higher, focus better on their
areas of expertise, and help build others up in the process.

Graduate Student Intern
Samir Omary
Graduate Student Intern
Samir Omary
Graduate Student Intern

Samir serves as a Graduate Student Intern for the firm and brings a global perspective through his bachelor's degree in political science and public administration from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). He’s currently pursuing a Master of International Studies at North Carolina State University, and his academic journey reflects his commitment to global understanding and effective communication.  

Samir's expertise extends beyond academia. As a Communication Specialist at Roots of Peace - USAID, he has honed his skills in marketing and content creation. His ability to convey complex ideas through interesting narratives sets him apart as a dynamic communicator. Since 2015, he has passionately contributed to national and international non-profits. His involvement spans education, leadership development, cultural exchange, and fundraising initiatives, showcasing his multifaceted commitment to positive change. 

With a robust educational background, professional experience, and a heart for service, Samir is poised to make a significant impact in the realm of international studies and beyond. His dedication to effective communication and his advocacy for global causes highlight his potential to shape a more interconnected world. 

Testimonials

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The PMA platform provides professional development, leadership and fundraising knowledge that can be helpful to someone who is just starting out, looking to keep pace, or wants to be inspired to reach higher levels in their professional lives. The team’s willingness to share knowledge and encouragement has made a real difference for me.

David Malloy
David Malloy
Executive Director, California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation
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For over a decade, I've had the great fortune to work with very talented people at PMA who have assisted several different nonprofits. Whether it's been developing a strategic plan, building staff and board capacity, or assisting with long-range visioning and capacity building, PMA has never fallen short on delivering quality outcomes.

Cheryl Richards, Ph.D.
Cheryl Richards, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Catapult
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I was hungry to advance my career but struggled to find direction. PMA's coaching helped me identify areas for growth in my current position while illuminating the path forward. This strategic focus led me from a small nonprofit to leading the fundraising efforts for the University’s College of Public Health.

Taylor Boyles
Taylor Boyles, MPAL, CFRE
Senior Director of Development, The Ohio State University College of Public Health
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PMA brings a thorough, thoughtful and dynamic approach to their work, and helped put in place core fundraising practices that took our development initiatives to the next level. We improved our strategic planning, board development, major gifts and prospect development. PMA inspires nonprofits to go to a whole new level!
Cynthia Simms, J.D., CFRE
Cynthia Simms, J.D., CFRE
Director of Development & Marketing, Dilworth Center
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Patton and the team at PMA are at the top of their game! They have perfected the process of listening, adapting, and responding to the needs of their clients and the communities they serve. They also bring a true relationship-led practice; relationships built with them will last long after your engagement has ended.
 Justin A. Dionne
Justin A. Dionne
Executive Director, Cain Center for the Arts
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It's been so helpful having PMA walk along beside us. The expertise they bring has helped us grow, and it's not just about a new building, but about long-term sustainability. The relationship has been very positive, and we would not be where we are without their support.
Dr. Melba McCallum
Dr. Melba McCallum
Executive Director, Partners in Ministry
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Our board of directors and I knew we had a wonderful idea for our community, but none of us had much experience or formal training in non-profit management. Patton and his team have been a Godsend, helping us with everything from strategic planning, board and staff development, succession planning and fundraising.

Rev. Chris Jenkins
Rev. Chris Jenkins
Executive Pastor, Hope Restorations Inc.
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Thanks to Patton and his team for putting on an awesome Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program. The course was four separate 3-hour sessions, and I'd recommend it for anyone seeking the best professional development opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

Spencer Percy, MASM
Spencer Percy, MASM
Director of Development, Wingate University

Our team is proud to have served these organizations:

Arts & Culture
  • Arts and Science Council
  • Arts Council of Greater Greensboro
  • Arts Plus
  • Asheville Symphony Orchestra
  • Cain Center for the Arts
  • Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
  • Jazz Arts Initiative 
Charitable & Community Foundations
  • Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation
  • David Belk Cannon Foundation
  • Foundation For the Carolinas
  • NC Textile Foundation
  • NC Veterinary Medical Foundation
  • State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) Foundation
  • Steve Smith Family Foundation  
  • The Duke Endowment
Children & Youth
  • Children's Home Society
  • Council for Children's Rights 
  • Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council 
  • Hope Haven of the Lowcountry
  • Safe Kids Midlands
  • Smart Start of Mecklenburg County
  • Thompson 
  • Time Out Youth 
Higher Education
  • Davidson College
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Gaston College Foundation
  • Greensboro College
  • Guilford Technical Community College
  • North Carolina State University Foundation 
  • North Carolina State University College of Design
  • Wingate University 
Primary and Secondary Education
  • Cannon School
  • Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation 
  • Charlotte Latin School
  • KIPP Charlotte
  • Palisades Episcopal School
  • Trinity Prep
  • Westchester Country Day School
Environmental
  • Carolina Raptor Center 
  • Catawba Lands Conservancy 
  • Catawba Science Center 
  • Wing Haven
Faith-Based
  • A.M.E. Zion Church (National)
  • Carolina Cross Connection
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Littlejohn United Methodist Church
  • Myers Park Presbyterian Church
  • North Carolina Central University Wesley Foundation
  • Solid Rock United Methodist Church
  • Wesley Community Development
Health & Human Services
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Care Ring
  • Charlotte Community Health Clinic
  • Classroom Central
  • Crisis Assistance Ministry
  • Fellowship Hall
  • Generations Family Services
  • Holy Angels
  • Hope Restorations
  • NC Dental Society Foundation
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation
  • Partners in Ministry
  • Rowan Helping Ministries
Leadership, Volunteer, and Community Development
  • Charlotte Chamber of Commerce 
  • Downtown Raleigh Alliance
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Institute for Philanthropic Leadership
  • Lakewood Community Development Corporation
  • Wildacres Leadership Initiative 

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